Feeling exhausted from a family trip to Alberta, the flow of words circumnavigating my brain seem to come to a stand still. My desire to write is there, but perfectionism seems to be stifling my flow. Nothing is creative enough, or brilliant enough to share. All I have fresh for you to consume is a dose of family emotional uncovering that I was made privy to for the first time in my 33 years on this earth.
It’s incredible how long lasting and powerful beliefs can be. For the longest time, I was spoon fed a negative image of my extended family going all the way back to my early childhood. We grew up and lived on the west coast while all my relatives grew up and lived in the prairies. My interactions with the family were always around heightened times of the year (holidays), and I never got to interact with them or understand them during the normal course of a week to really understand how they ticked or interacted with one another.
It’s like those first couple of months of being in a relationship. You are always showing your bright shining features, dressing to impress with full smiles. Then, when the honeymoon stage fades away you slowly start to get used to the person not highlighting their best features anymore, and the makeup comes off. That is the same experience that takes place when you are gathering with relatives during the holidays. You mix that unrealistic showboat side we all have with a massive pressure for things to be perfect and lovely and all the nasty, very real humps and bumps get swept under the tree so to speak.
If you mix these surface level interactions with a negative image of people being spoon fed by your parents at a young age, you really are left quite jaded in the way you look at family. I took what small tidbits of biased information that was provided to me as fact, and they only seemed to get reinforced year after year as my mother would get into conflict with her siblings. Talk about ignorance! In hindsight, now that I have developed a modicum of self-awareness in life, I can see it as a brain washing and most definitely not as truth. Now, if you add over 1000 kilometres of distance to the mix the chance of me wanting to engage with these people whom with I share the same bloodline never ranked highly on the priority list. I mean, who would want to hang out with people that were portrayed as being so cruel?
Today I am fortunate enough to be able to remove myself from the smoke and mirrors and understand that these people aren’t bad people, but rather they had just done a few bad things that got rehashed over and over again year after year. I don’t know about you, but I sure as hell wouldn’t want someone to judge me on who I was as a person from one or two bad days. That just wouldn’t be fair.
Last weekend these walls of lies all seemed to come crumbling down as I took a flight back to my roots and submerged myself with vulnerability back into relationships I truly always wanted to have. A whole new life started to bloom inside of me, a light at the end of a dark tunnel that lasted more than 15 years. It truly was unreasonable of me to take on a resentment that my mother had been bearing towards her brother and sisters for decades, but that is just how the cookie crumbled in our family. I do now take responsibility for that and hope to invest in all of those relationships in the years to come.
I visualize this expression of my trip to see my relatives as an emotional unclogging, if you will. Had I not taken the time to sit down and write about this experience, I may have very well remained stagnant in my content creation. It’s just one more of these things in life that you have to push through and tangibly examine instead of sitting and critically examining the experience only within the confines of your own mind.